FFA Members strengthen relations with Development Partners

Members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) have strengthened and solidified partnerships during the inaugural FFA Development Partners Symposium which concluded today.

In her opening remarks the Honourable Mona Ainu’u, Minister for Natural Resources of Niue emphasised that, “FFA Members have contributed significantly to the overall management of the key tuna fishery stocks in Western and Central Pacific Ocean over the years. Our collective efforts have ensured that the key tuna stocks remain in the ‘green’ and our region is the only one to have all key tuna stocks in the green! But we need support and input from all involved including our development partners to help sustain our efforts.”

The Symposium provided an opportunity to reflect on the vision of Forum Leaders in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent as well as the vision of FFA, and to share information on the work of the FFA including its performance, challenges and future, and discuss and identify opportunities for collaboration with development partners on regional priorities.

The Symposium acknowledged the significance of tuna fisheries to the Pacific Islands region towards sustaining the livelihoods of Pacific peoples and strengthening national economies. The Symposium noted that:
(i) The value of catch taken by national fleets of FFA Members across WCPFC-Convention Area was US$1.8 billion in 2022 (31% of catch value)
(ii) In FFA Members’ waters 59% of the catch value was taken by national fleets of FFA Members (up from 39% in 2015)
(iii) Government revenue from access and licence fees is approximately US$480 million per year
(iv) Around 30% of global tuna supply is from the FFA Members’ waters and that highlights the importance of Pacific tuna globally.

Participants noted that the Pacific Islands region holds the healthiest stocks of tuna in the world as a result of focused sustainable fisheries management by the Members of the FFA. The Agency plays a pivotal role in enabling and facilitating the sustainable management of these stocks by Members, in the face of new and emerging challenges.

These challenges were highlighted for participants, including areas where Members and the Agency are seeking additional support. These included: the need to strengthen the capacity of Members for sustainable fisheries management, investment facilitation in support of fisheries development aspirations, addressing market access requirements, and efforts to significant improve regional efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

During the Symposium, FFA Officials Chair, Mr Glen Joseph from the Marshall Islands referred to these “new and rapidly emerging challenges” facing the FFA and its Members.

At their most extreme these resulted from climate change, but there were other challenges as well.

He referred to the work that had been done by the FFA and its membership over the years, “and the vital role the FFA has played in the sustainable development of the region’s fisheries resources”.

“In implementing the FFA strategic objectives the Agency has been heavily dependent upon the cooperation and support of its development partners, as are its Members. This symposium provides a unique opportunity to enhance that cooperation further, as it is the first meeting of its kind.”

The Symposium noted the support expressed by Development Partners, including but not limited to:
(i) combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing through a range of initiatives such as enhancing satellite coverage and supporting emerging technology
(ii) supporting the new Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre
(iii) strengthening Maritime Domain Awareness
(iv) sustainable management of offshore fisheries resources
(v) building human and institutional capacity.

At the conclusion of the meeting, FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen congratulated FFA Members and development partners “for the historic event and the valuable opportunity to strengthen partnerships that support the priorities of FFA Members and ensure that our fisheries are sustainable for the future of our people.”

Engagement with development partners is guided by the Principles for FFA Engagement in Regional Tuna Fisheries Project Partnerships with Donors which was endorsed by Fisheries Ministers in July 2023. These guiding principles emphasise the importance of inclusivity and that the FFA will ensure that all SIDS Members are treated equally and have equitable access to funds.

FFA Members and development partners Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, European Union, IMCSN, PEW and UNDP participated in the Inaugural FFA Development Partners Symposium which was held in Wellington, New Zealand on 26-27 February 2024.

WELLINGTON, 27  February 2024 

Media Contact:
Ernest Ta'asi
FFA Communications Officer
e: ernest.ta’[email protected]
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. Find out more here: www.ffa.int

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